I don’t remember every day in the library during my sophomore year, but I remember why I was there. I don’t remember seeing it as a blessing, but now I realize I was given a gift which I use even now.
I don’t remember the exact hour other than that it was lunch and I was in the cafeteria. I don’t remember how many teachers were monitoring us. There were never more than two. I don’t remember how many boys faced me, but I remember the feeling that I needed to leave. I remember thinking ignore them. It could not have been more than a few seconds. I don’t remember walking away, but I remember seeing my sky blue, divided lunch tray shaking as I placed it on the long table. I don’t remember what was on the tray. I can’t imagine I wanted to eat it.
My friend’s boyfriend was across from me. I remember that he got mad enough that he walked over to the scary boy and his band of goons and said something. I remember Greg’s angry eyes. I don’t remember ever seeing those creeps again. What every happened to those guys?
I don’t remember when I spoke to or what I said to my Spanish teacher, but she wrote the passes for me to go to the library all of those days. I trusted her. I don’t remember all the lies I told to get out of it, but I know that I never stepped foot in that cafeteria again that year.
I don’t remember how long I was scared, but I remember the calm of the library. The silence broke only with the scratching of my pencil across my paper as I sat alone in a school of about three thousand staff and students. The smell of dusty parchment still conjures feelings of comfort and safety. I don’t know if I ever made the connection, but I was a library assistant to work my way through college. Even now I dream of getting a post-grad degree to be a librarian. I wonder.
I don’t remember how long it took me to notice the courtyard outside the library window, but I remember the snow covered saplings intertwined. It took me more than one day to draw them, but I don’t remember how long it took me to remember to bring unlined paper. I remember how the buds burst into leaves that spring. I wondered if I should change the picture I drew to show the growth. I still have the picture twenty-two years later.
I don’t remember all the activities I did during those hours in the library, but I remember drawing and writing. I began writing poems. I don’t remember how many I wrote, but I remember the ability to express myself produced a voice. I kept my written thoughts in a pink and yellow tie-dyed folder, but I don’t remember how long I carried it with me. My poems, writings and drawings are still in that folder today.
I don’t know the month and day, but I remember it was a Friday. My white, tattered Bible was open on the floor. My journal was next to it. I don’t remember the words I prayed, but I remember the tears. I hugged my knees and sat on the brown shag carpet in my bedroom leaning against the bunk bed. I don’t remember how long, but I remember I didn’t want to leave. I remember my company and beginning our relationship that night. I don’t remember how many times I sabotaged the relationship, but I remember His constant embrace and ready forgiveness when I asked it of Him.
I remember feeling embarrassed by my inability to verbally share. I thought on more than one occasion that in writing down my feelings someday, someone would know how I felt even if in that moment no one did. Not even me.
I wrote. I needed to be heard. I drew. He listened.
I ask you: What have you forgotten? Where is your voice? When will you use your gifts?